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One council one address: back to basics

NLPG Exemplar Award Best Practice – Most Innovative Use 2009: Fenland District Council.

The LLPG Team at Fenland District Council has long supported the use of the NLPG as the only address database within the organisation, using articles in the council’s weekly magazine and direct communication in the form of staff emails. In order for the NLPG address data to eventually become the only address database used within the authority, the LLPG Team promoted the Fenland ‘One Team Approach’ to communicate the benefits of using the LLPG service to all service areas.

The supposition made by the LLPG Team was that if incorrect contact details were being used, it was highly probable that correspondence was not getting through and post was being returned as ‘undeliverable’ by Royal Mail. This led the team to the Council’s post room and the start of a targeted communications campaign to minimise the use of non NLPG compliant addresses for customer correspondence and delivery of services.

By examining every item of returned correspondence, the LLPG Team identified those service areas not using the NLPG database. Research into the remit, role and responsibility of the identified teams highlighted opportunities to sell the value of the LLPG, targeting a specific function or outcome that would benefit from its introduction and use.

The items of returned mail gave the LLPG Team an opportunity for instigating discussions with service delivery teams. It was important to find out what address resource they were using and to present them with the potential benefits of the NLPG. These discussions also provided the opportunity for questions and further promotion of the centralised address database.

Outcomes

Within the first week, the LLPG Team had identified an issue with a batch of mail sent to every resident within the authority, regarding forthcoming changes to refuse bin collections. Prompt identification, combined with ongoing support of the service delivery team, minimised the potential for complaints and led to the early involvement of the LLPG Team in similar exercises in the future.

Other service delivery areas, including Community Development and a number of smaller teams, have also instigated discussions with the LLPG Team to investigate how the NLPG can be applied beneficially. The LLPG Team are also working closely with frontline service providers, investigating potential changes to addresses, prior to adoption and use, to ensure the NLPG is well maintained and up to date.

The work undertaken by the LLPG Team has uncovered some issues with Royal Mail relating to the non delivery of correctly addressed post. The council is working with Royal Mail to address this issue ahead of the Census in 2011.

Resulting from the use of the NLPG across the organisation, the working practices instigated by the LLPG Team will continue until the only post returned by Royal Mail as undeliverable is that which has been marked as ‘No longer at this address’ or ‘gone away’.

Key benefits

  • Contributed to an improvement in customer service, resulting in Fenland District Council being the first Council to be presented with, and retain, an award for Customer Service Excellence.
  • Increased revenues achieved through the effective delivery of official correspondence and the accurate targeting of promotional material.
  • Reduction in overall post budget, with additional savings achieved as a result of minimising undeliverable or returned correspondence requiring staff intervention.
  • Joined up service delivery across the organisation and improved partnership working, with Fenland engaging with Royal Mail to improve delivery processes.
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